“Crap, crap, crap. I’m late! I’m going to be in so much trouble!”
Jamie was running down the corridor, rows of silver lockers flashing past him, trying to remember what class he was meant to be having. He’d been so caught up with his computer science’s project he didn’t hear the bell and was now almost 10 minutes late.
“Shit! It’s Mrs Montgomery! She’s not going to be easy on me…”
His feet skidded, leaving a rubber trail on the smooth linoleum floor, as he grabbed the door of an empty locker to stop his momentum, managing to do a half-turn at the same time. He was now facing East, towards the year 11 classrooms. As he started walking, certain his goal was just 3 doors down, he felt something pulling at him. His jacket had caught on that locker’s door? He tried to yank it, but it just seemed to pull tighter from the other end. Reluctantly he walked back, awkwardly, his right arm slightly raised as the flap of the jacket was now very tensely stretched.
“What the…?” – With his left hand opening the locker door, he peered inside trying to figure out what was holding him, but all he could see was blackness. An absolute absence of light making it impossible to even see the end of the jacket that was caught inside. Puzzled, Jamie tried to pull the jacket again, and again he felt it tightening even more, the tension in the fabric pulling him closer to the darkness. A gush of cold rushing out from its centre.
“Ok, this is getting pretty creepy. Next I’ll start hearing moaning or some such.” Without much thought he realised he was pulling his left arm free of the jacket, twisting himself around and grabbing hold of the right sleeve’s cuff, right elbow bended over the stretched canvas, bringing him closer to the locker. A shiver ran up his spine as he set himself free of the jacket and, at the same time, the jacket flopped to the floor.
“Are you kidding me?!” He picked the jacket up, all thought of going to class now forgotten, and turned it around looking for any rip or sign of having been caught. The jacket looked just as he remembered it: faded black and grey denim that had seen better days but was still in pretty good nick, bar that oil stain on the left arm from when he changed a tire. He took his lighter from the breast pocket and flicked it, trying to peer inside the locker. He could swear he could see a shiver of a reflection? The flame flickered. Once. Twice. A light, cold breeze blowing gently.
He closed his eyes, steading himself, almost daring himself. Breathing in. Breathing out. Long, slow.
He opened his eyes, put the lighter on his trousers’ back pocket, holding the jacket over his left arm. He slowly touched the edge of the locker frame, resting his right hand on the cold metal. Heart racing, he stepped closer and slid his hand through the wall of the locker. He couldn’t feel anything unusual, just cold metal. He continued his exploration, a bit more confident despite not being able to see his hand as it went further into the depths of the black void. That cold gush of air was back again, making him quite aware of the drops of sweat that were coming down his face. His hand kept moving inside, slowly…
Jamie felt something – a hand? – get hold of his and pull him relentlessly, his shoulder feeling like it was going to pop, and suddenly his whole body was in the air, his arm, his head, his torso, his legs, flying into the darkness, cold, sharp wind rushing all around him, sparkles – stars? – filling his vision, a metallic taste in his mouth.
His whole body jerked, sharp pain on his knees as they hit the ground, his hands following sharply, head jolting violently down, stopping a few inches from the floor.
Black obsidian, cold under his hands, seemed to burst alive with light as the space above him exploded in a bright shimmer. He rolled to his side, his body spasming with the shock of coming through the portal.